GREG Bannister cannot wait for Westcliff’s season to get underway this weekend.

For the first time in the club’s 100 year history, Westcliff will be lining up in National Two South.

And Bannister insists everyone at the club is excited for the big kick-off against Dings Crusaders at the Gables tomorrow.

“Everyone is excited, not just the players,” said Bannister.

“Speaking to people around the club they are maybe more excited than us players which is good to hear but it means a lot to everyone.

“Ninety per cent of the boys have been here since the juniors so to watch the club make it to such a high level has been pretty pleasing.”

Westcliff won promotion via the play-offs after finishing second in the London & SE Premier Division last season.

And Bannister was pleased with how the team have prepared for the new campaign.

“Pre-season has been good,” said Bannister, who can play on the wing or at full-back.

“Obviously there was some tough weeks but that’s part of it and I think we are in a really good place at the moment.”

Westcliff thrashed Brighton Blues 80-7 in their final pre-season clash last weekend.

But Bannister is expecting his team to have to cope with a big step up in standard this term.

“We know as a squad the step up from last season is going to be big,” said Bannister.

“This is basically a semi-pro league with the amount of money clubs have so we will be up against better and bigger players each week but something as a squad I think we can deal with.

“It means a lot to everyone too.”

However, with so many tough matches ahead, survival will be Westcliff’s first main aim of the season.

“Obviously we want to stay up,” said Bannister.

“But as a group we have decided the main thing we want to do is play a good brand of rugby that we and the club can be proud of.”

That quest will start at home to Dings this weekend.

But Bannister does not know what to expect.

“Honestly we are going into the unknown,” said Bannister.

“We don’t know much about many teams this year. We will go in with the mindset to execute our gameplan and I think we’ll have a good chance to win the game.”

Tomorrow’s game kicks off at 3pm.